Whether to invest in social media is no longer a question. Using social media to proactively communicate and inform customers is now high on most marketers' agendas. The challenge, though, for many CMOs becomes how to move their organizations from simply getting "likes" on Facebook to establishing a culture receptive to actively leveraging insight from all social media sites with the goal of improving sales and driving customer loyalty.

CMOs who underestimate the impact of more deeply engaging in social media are missing opportunities to grow revenue, expand brand value, and strengthen customer loyalty. Conversely, marketers who establish a culture focused on deriving customer knowledge from social media will be far better prepared to anticipate future shifts in product development and media consumption—and those who currently do so are well ahead of the curve.

Last October an IBM survey of more than 1,700 global CMOs revealed deficiencies in leveraging social media for marketing. Although top marketing executives recognize a critical and permanent shift occurring in the way they engage with their customers, most marketers said that many of their marketing approaches remain steeped in traditional tactics. In fact, 80 percent or more of the CMOs surveyed said they focus primarily on traditional sources of information like market research, with only 26 percent of CMOs tracking blogs, 42 percent monitoring third-party reviews, and 48 percent reading consumer reviews to help shape their marketing strategies.